Cyprus updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC
Application and interpretation of Article IV of New York Convention
  • Cyprus
  • 04 June 2020

In recent years there has been a substantial number of cases in which the courts have had to determine whether applicants seeking the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award have complied with the requirements set out in Article IV of the New York Convention, which the Supreme Court has ruled must be strictly satisfied. The principles highlighted in this article should help to shed light on the courts' interpretation and application of Article IV.

District court examines scope of arbitration agreements and arbitrability of dispute
  • Cyprus
  • 27 February 2020

In a recent case before the Limassol District Court, the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network applied for the recognition and enforcement of two arbitral awards which had been issued by the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The dispute concerned the breach of two film licensing agreements by the respondent, Trevano Pictures Limited.

Supreme Court confirms that inadequately justified arbitral award amounts to arbitrator misconduct
  • Cyprus
  • 12 December 2019

In a recent Supreme Court case, the appellant appealed against a first-instance judgment in which he had sought to annul an arbitral award. The dispute related to the non-payment of a loan granted by the respondent to the appellant and a subsequent challenge of the amount owed. Arbitration had taken place in which the arbitrator had issued his decision in favour of the respondent.

District court reaffirms narrow scope of public policy argument against recognition of arbitral awards
  • Cyprus
  • 05 September 2019

In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of a London Court of International Arbitration award, which the respondents argued was contrary to Cypriot public policy pursuant to the New York Convention. This case serves as a useful reminder that the courts will rarely resort to public policy grounds to refuse the recognition of an arbitral award unless presented with cogent evidence.

Court clarifies application of Article VI of New York Convention
  • Cyprus
  • 30 May 2019

In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award issued by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The case is one of the first examples of the judicial interpretation and application of Article VI of the New York Convention by the Cypriot courts and serves as a useful guide to the proper procedure to be followed by parties when invoking said article.


Banking & Financial Services

Registered alternative investment funds – an overview
  • Cyprus
  • 16 October 2018

Cyprus recently introduced a law which aims to modernise its investment fund legislative regime and allows for the establishment of a new type of investment vehicle: the registered alternative investment fund (RAIF). The RAIF is a hybrid legal creature that combines the elements of authorised and regulated funds without extensive bureaucracy or, more importantly, the need for an operating authorisation from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.

What to keep in mind before entering into banking or finance transactions
  • Cyprus
  • 03 August 2018

No banking and finance transaction is the same. However, there are a number of considerations that financial institutions should keep in mind when negotiating the provision of loans and the entry into other financial arrangements. The proper structuring of a finance transaction ensures the due performance of its terms – especially in situations of default and, more specifically, the borrower's insolvency.


Corporate & Commercial

Contributed by Solsidus Law
Directors' duties in time of COVID-19
  • Cyprus
  • 06 April 2020

Directors run state hospitals, private clinics, companies and businesses that will be affected by the government's decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be called on to decide the life or death of the businesses that they run. This article examines directors' duties in the face of a crisis from a corporate law perspective.

Importance of certainty in agreements: can there be room for an agreement to agree?
  • Cyprus
  • 20 May 2019

The Contracts Law provides the legal framework for establishing legally valid and enforceable agreements in Cyprus. However, in real-life commercial situations, parties may not always achieve the certainty required to ensure that an agreement or contract term is valid and enforceable. The pressure associated with reaching an agreement often causes parties to defer important contract terms in order to close a deal at the expense of certainty and, ultimately, enforceability.

New simplified strike-off procedure comes into force
  • Cyprus
  • 18 March 2019

The provisions on the striking off of Cypriot companies set out in the Companies Law were recently amended to introduce a simplified process to reinstate a company which is struck off as a result of failure to file mandatory documents or to pay the annual levy to the registrar. The simplified process aims to enable companies that are struck off due to irregularity to be reinstated within two years, without having to resort to the courts

Directors' duties when launching ICOs
  • Cyprus
  • 06 August 2018

When an initial coin offering (ICO) is structured through a Cypriot company, directors' duties are highly relevant. The directors must approve the framework within which the ICO will be launched. While doing so, directors are legally required to protect the company's interests in line with their fiduciary duties. When directors also invest their own funds in an ICO, under Cypriot law, they must still maintain a conflict-free position.

Forced sale orders on grounds of unfair prejudice and oppression
  • Cyprus
  • 11 June 2018

Shareholder petitions of unfair prejudice have been compared to divorce petitions. Indeed, these shareholder disputes tend to carry the same level of acrimony, especially when courts are faced with the option of deciding the sale of one shareholder's shares to another. Fairness is at the heart of the courts' consideration when deciding cases of unfair prejudice and shareholder oppression.


Corporate Finance/M&A

M&A opportunities in Cyprus post-Brexit
  • Cyprus
  • 27 February 2019

There has been a noticeable rise in foreign investments in Cyprus, with an upswing in mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. This has been the result of various reforms and legislative amendments that have added legal certainty and contributed to the creation of a coherent statutory framework. International investors might well consider these factors when assessing Cyprus as an investment hub for future transactions in the M&A market post-Brexit.

Mergers and reorganisations – an overview
  • Cyprus
  • 23 January 2019

Cyprus boasts an attractive merger and reorganisation regime not only locally (ie, between Cyprus entities), but also at an EU level. Besides the well-known advantages of merging two companies (eg, the transfer of assets and liabilities without the need for the novation of contracts or other cumbersome procedures), mergers and reorganisations in Cyprus are also attractive from a tax perspective, as those which fall within the scope of the law may result in a total tax exemption in Cyprus.


Corporate Tax

Contributed by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
Tax measures introduced due to COVID-19
  • Cyprus
  • 01 May 2020

The government has introduced a variety of tax measures intended to help taxpayers preserve their cash flows and ease the administrative burden on them during the COVID-19 health emergency. In this regard, the deadlines for payment of indirect taxes and those pertaining to tax returns have been extended.

New double tax agreement between Cyprus and Kazakhstan
  • Cyprus
  • 13 March 2020

The Cyprus-Kazakhstan double tax treaty recently entered into force. The agreement – which is the first of its kind between the two countries and closely based on the latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Model Tax Convention framework – is to be welcomed in view of the possibilities for business, transactional work and business synergies that it may help to create between the two countries.

Tax incentives for start-ups
  • Cyprus
  • 27 September 2019

Innovation and entrepreneurship are heavily sought after by countries looking to ameliorate and modernise their economies. Cyprus is no different in this respect and has prioritised creating a vibrant landscape which addresses the needs of start-ups and their investors. The defining features of the Cypriot system are its IP box regime, notional interest deduction, alternative investment funds and various tax incentives which can be coupled with research and development and innovation.

Response to EU Anti-tax Avoidance Directive
  • Cyprus
  • 14 June 2019

The House of Representatives recently approved legislation implementing the EU Anti-tax Avoidance Directive in Cyprus with the aim of improving the resilience of the internal market against cross-border tax avoidance practices. The new legislation has once again demonstrated the government's commitment to supporting international efforts to tackle tax avoidance practices.

Issuance of tax residence certificates based on 60-day residence rule
  • Cyprus
  • 01 March 2019

The Cyprus Tax Department recently issued a circular giving guidance on the tax residence provisions for individuals introduced by Law 119(I)/2017. The circular makes clear that an individual who holds office as a director of a Cyprus tax-resident company and delegates this office to an alternate or nominee director at any time during the tax year does not qualify for Cyprus tax residence under the 60-day rule.